Best From Banff -- Just in case you missed it when it came to the Met this past November, the Banff Mountain Film Festival is returning to the Inland Northwest with engagements in both Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint. All the images and people of "mountain culture" are featured in 19 films from around the globe, encompassing a variety of interests. Scheduled selections include the waterfall kayaking film Falling, a documentary on efforts to reintroduce wolves to Idaho, several short films about climbing and even a look at "The Granola Ayatollah of Canola," who travels America in a rig that runs on used vegetable oil. Best of all, the event is a benefit for two different organizations, depending on where you see it. The Thursday, Jan. 22, showing at North Idaho College (at 7 pm) benefits the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, while the two Panida shows (Jan. 23-24 at 7 pm) benefit (of course) the Panida Theater.
Manhattan on Garland -- Ever find yourself in a pocket of Spokane that feels, however momentarily, that it might actually belong to a much larger, more sophisticated metropolitan area? The opening of the Eva Silverstone show at Studio 901 last Friday night was one of those welcome experiences. Although the usual Spokane arts crowd faces were all there, Studio 901 (at 901 W. Garland) feels a lot like the friendly smoke shop/newsstand you discovered on your last visit to New York or Chicago. The narrow corridor, hung with delicate track lights and newly refurbished with hardwood floors, has just enough room for a cash register, a few packs of Nat Shermans (and cloves... gotta love the cloves), and a damn fine selection of magazines you can't find anywhere else. Looking for Punk Planet? They've got it. Silverstone's deceptively simple abstracts were a nice match for the intimacy of the space. We'll be back.
Lobbying for the Locals -- You might notice something a little different next time you visit the MAC (Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture). Where are the life-sized cardboard cutouts of museum-goers just like you? The interpretive displays that patiently guide you through all the steps of Visiting the Museum? As curator Jochen Wierich explains, it was their time to go. "We made the decision to take down the old orientation exhibit cutouts," he says, then pauses. "So far, nobody has complained."
So now that Spokane museum visitors can be trusted to walk through the museum without extra guidance, why not go check out the museum's newest series, "In Focus"? The exhibit, located in the museum lobby, highlights a different Northwest artist every month. First up is Charles Palmer, a painter long overdue for some recognition in his own hometown. Go check it out!